Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Further supplementary memorandum submitted by Sport England


  As Iain Wilton indicated to Nicole Mulloy, on 8 March, Sport England would like to clarify the expected costs of converting the new Wembley Stadium into athletics mode.

  In oral evidence to the Committee, on 1 March, David Moorcroft stated that these costs could amount to "maybe not £95 million"—the initial estimate of building the proposed national athletics centre at Picketts Lock—"but not a million miles away from it".

  As Mr Moorcroft indicated, he reached this figure by adding together (i) the cost of the proposed athletics "platform" at Wembley, (ii) compensation for Wembley's loss of income during the process of assembling and then dismantling it, (iii) the proposed £20 million payment from the FA/WNSL to Sport England, and (iv) the cost of the warm-up facility that would be needed near the new Wembley Stadium if it was to stage major athletics events.

  In our view, however, these four sums do not come close to providing a total figure of £95 million.

  First, as we indicated during the Committee's inquiry into Wembley National Stadium, both WNSL and Sport England believe that the likely costs of conversion, through the "platform" approach, would be £15-20 million—not £30 million, as Mr Moorcroft indicated on 1 March.

  Second, although Mr Moorcroft did not provide a figure for (ii), we are concerned that, in the past the likely costs of compensation have been greatly exaggerated. For example, the BOA's original submission on Wembley National Stadium put this figure at £29 million. In contrast, as WNSL explained to the Committee (in their letter dated 21 January 2000), the true figure, in respect of staging the World Athletics Championships, would be approximately £2 million. (This was based on the conversion process taking six months—although, as Bob Stubbs told the Committee, on 27 January last year, WNSL and their architects thought that, with further design work, they could "get that down much tighter than six months").

  Third, it is important to note that, under the repayment schedule agreed between the DCMS and the FA/WNSL, the final tranche of the £20 million will not be paid until December 2004—by which time, because of inflation, it will be worth appreciably less than when the £20 million sum was originally agreed between the Secretary of State and Ken Bates in December 1999.

  Fourth, as we indicated during the Wembley National Stadium inquiry, we believe that a warm-up track, suitable for the World Athletics Championships, could have been provided, at Coplelands School, for approximately £2.4 million. While it would not have been suitable for a Wembley-based Olympic Games, we believe, as previously explained, that it would have been hard to justify spending as much a £15.4 million (for the "South East Corner" option) on an Olympic-compliant warm-up site when the BOA had yet to decide whether to bid for the right to stage a future Olympic Games in London and, moreover, it had yet to determine what role—if any—Wembley would play in such a Games.

  I hope this information proves helpful as the Committee continues its inquiry into Staging International Sporting Events.

March 2001

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